- Unit Plan: You will produce a math or science unit plan that is suitable for use in the elementary classroom in which you are doing your field work. You will choose the math or science topic, but you need to collaborate with the school-based-educator with whom you are working as you choose your topic. You will need to incorporate in this unit plan all of the elements of Understanding by Design that we have worked on as well as all the elements of performance tasks and integrated lesson planning that we have worked on. Details of the requirements as well as a scoring rubric by which your work will be evaluated are found on the unit plan rubric.
- Performance Task: After you have had a chance to see and experience several different integrated performance tasks in class, you will create one of your own. (Although the topic is integrated, it must emphasize math or science.) You will include an overview, detailed description of the task(s), any necessary worksheets, a personal reflection narrative, and a project rubric. More details are available on a separate document, as is the scoring rubric on which your work will be graded.
- Project Learning Tree “mini-unit”: Following the class sessions on Project Learning Tree, you will assemble a mini unit plan making use of several of the lessons and activities found in the Project Learning Tree book. Details of the requirements as well as a scoring rubric by which your work will be evaluated will be provided in advance of this assignment.
1. Candidates will apply their knowledge of the concepts, principles, theories, and research related to the development of children to construct learning opportunities that support individual students’ development, acquisition of knowledge, and motivation as it relates to the learning of math and science. (ACEI 1.0 and 3.4)
2. Candidates will design and implement classroom learning experiences that make use of problem contexts to facilitate student understanding of mathematical concepts without neglecting procedural fluency. (ACEI 2.3)
3. Candidates will design and implement classroom learning experiences that make use of scientific inquiry to facilitate development of scientifically sound concepts in life sciences, physical sciences, and earth/space sciences. (ACEI 2.2)
4. Candidates will design and implement classroom learning experiences that demonstrate knowledge of educational theory and best practice as articulated in the NYS learning standards. (ACEI 3.1 and 3.3)
5. Candidates will design classroom learning experiences that engage students in active learning and classroom discourse as appropriate for facilitating learning in mathematics AND science. (ACEI 3.4 and 3.5)
6. Candidates will design and implement classroom learning experiences that clearly demonstrate their understanding and use of the cyclical nature of assessment and instruction in a sequence of lessons (linking outcomes to learning activities to assessment in an effective feedback loop) to improve student learning. (ACEI 4.0 and 5.1)
7. Candidates will design a performance task and an integrated unit plan that clearly demonstrate their understanding and use of the cyclical nature of assessment and instruction (linking outcomes to learning activities to assessment in an effective feedback loop) to improve student learning. (ACEI 4.0 and 5.1)
8. Candidates will design and implement classroom learning experiences that intentionally integrate multiple subject areas (math, science, technology, health and physical education, art). (ACEI 2.2, 2.3, 2.5, .2.6, and 2.7)
9. Candidates will justify technology decisions (what technology to use and/or refrain from using) in designing classroom learning experiences; justification will be on the basis of impacts on student learning. (ACEI 3.5)
Both assignments, the Unit Plan and the Project Learning Tree Unit, were extremely helpful in my preparation as an educator. When I realized that I had to do unit plans this semester I was anxious. I didn’t know what to expect and had never thought about creating a unit and all of the pieces and organization that goes into it.
The first unit plan was the Project Learning Tree Unit. This unit was great to start out with because I didn’t have to write the lessons since they were provided in the book for me. But, what I did have to do was generate a topic and find lessons that correspond with the topic I chose. Not only did I have to find lessons but I also had to arrange them in a logical order for teaching that particular lesson to students. Each lesson was to build off of the material taught in the one before it. (Outcome 6)
The second unit plan was one that was complexly created by me. It was great to have this experience of starting from scratch with just a broad topic and having to make an entire unit that gradually gets students to achieve the goal you had in mind. The unit plan included 3 full lessons, a performance task assessment and 6 lesson sketches. In creating this unit it was critical to consider the order in which things should be presented to the students. Day by day the material should be gradually changing and adding onto what was learned the previous day. The assessments from the previous lesson should help guide educators with the tweaking of the next lesson. If the students have not yet mastered a specific portion of the unit, the teacher must get everyone on board with understanding the material prior to adding on to that concept. The unit plan shows the cyclical nature of teaching of assessment and instruction. The assessments for each lesson aligned with the outcomes for that lesson, while the Performance Task Assessment aligned with the outcomes for the entire unit. In order to correctly assess student learning the assessments must be directly related to what you want the students to learn or be able to do after the completion of the lesson or unit. (Outcome 6 and 7)
In reflecting upon my work on the PLT Unit plan, Performance Task Assessment and the Unit Plan I believe that I am strong in these areas. I pay really close attention to detail which helps in the organization of the unit plans and how each lesson must build off of each other. I also think that my creativity helped in the creation of all of these products, especially the Performance Task Assessment and Unit Plan. I try to think of things that kids will really enjoy doing and may have never done before. For the most part, I enjoyed doing these assignments because everything was up to me. I was able to choose the topic and provide the learning experiences that I wanted to see in a classroom. One thing that I struggled with in doing these assignments is time management. I tend to not think about how much time I like to spend on doing things and looking into all of its details. If I were to do these things again, which I will in the future as an educator, I think it is important to divide the time spent on the entire project. I think it would have been much easier for me to work on these tasks in smaller sections and not all at once. Although, there may not appear to be anything wrong with the finished products, I have to think about myself as well.
**The Unit Plan and Performance Task also address the outcomes listed for the taught and untaught lesson plans for the same reasons.**